Three-Dimensional Two-Color Dual-Particle Tracking Microscope for Monitoring DNA Conformational Changes and Nanoparticle Landings on Live Cells


Here, we present a three-dimensional two-color dual-particle tracking (3D-2C-DPT) technique that can simultaneously localize two spectrally distinct targets in three dimensions with a time resolution down to 5 ms. The dual-targets can be tracked with separation distances from 33 to 250 nm with tracking precisions of ∼15 nm (for static targets) and ∼35 nm (for freely diffusing targets). Since each target is individually localized, a wealth of data can be extracted, such as the relative 3D position, the 2D rotation, and the separation distance between the two targets. Using this technique, we turn a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA)-linked dumbbell-like dimer into a nanoscopic optical ruler to quantify the bending dynamics of nicked or gapped dsDNA molecules in free solution by manipulating the design of dsDNA linkers (1-nick, 3-nt, 6-nt, or 9-nt single-strand gap), and the results show the increase of $k_{on}$ (linear to bent) from 3.2 to 10.7 $s^{–1}$. The 3D-2C-DPT is then applied to observe translational and rotational motions of the landing of an antibody-conjugated nanoparticle on the plasma membrane of living cells, revealing the reduction of rotations possibly due to interactions with membrane receptors. This study demonstrates that this 3D-2C-DPT technique is a new tool to shed light on the conformational changes of biomolecules and the intermolecular interactions on plasma membrane.

Journal article
ACS Nano